Woolridge Proposes Special Elections to Fill Council Vacancies

by admin on November 9, 2011

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Mary Woolridge, D-3, has introduced a resolution that would allow direct elections to fill council vacancies.

Under current state law, the council selects replacements by a majority vote if a city lawmaker dies, resigns or is removed from office. The appointee must then run in the next election in order to finish out the remainder of the term.

Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, has also introduced a package of resolutions asking state lawmakers to change merger law.

He says the voters have a better understanding of the district and that council members are uncomfortable with the idea of appointing a fellow member.

“And even though the council goes through its due diligence in terms of interviewing the candidates and doing some general questions for qualifications, I think it’s more of a prudent process to have the citizens within that district to elect that individual,” he says.

Since its inception, the council has made four appointments with two being retained by district voters in the subsequent election.

Last month, the council selected community activist Attica Woodson Scott to replace Judy Green, who was ousted from the District 1 seat over ethics violations. Before the vote, however, Woolridge alleged the choice was rigged and criticized the appointment process.

Councilwoman Woolridge did not return out request for comment.

The Jefferson County Clerk’s office has estimated the cost of a special election could cost approximately $45,000.

The resolution will receive its first read before the full council on Thursday and will likely be assigned to the government accountability committee.

If approved by the council, the resolution would still require action by the General Assembly. It will also need the approval of voters, who would have to pass a statewide constitutional amendment to allow for special council elections.

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